Sales Training

This page is a database of articles and downloadable white papers on many different aspects of sales training. You can search for any particular topic (e.g. "cold-calling") by typing it into the search box above the list of contents to the right. If you use the productivity tools in Connect (Calendar, Contacts, Workshop, Dashboard) you can use your dashboard results to see which areas of selling you have the most weak spots and then come to this page to find training resources to help you improve.

Seven Pitfalls That Cause Business Failure

If you are presenting yourself as a media consultant to local business owners, you should know as much about the ins and outs of running a business generally, as possible.

Here is some information on reasons for business failure you should be conversant with and be able to discuss with your clients.

The latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that "two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years." This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.

Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn't do to keep a new business afloat - there are, however, key factors that (if not avoided) will be certain to weigh down a business and possibly sink it forever.

DON’T START YOUR BUSINESS FOR THE WRONG REASONS:

Is the sole reason you want to start your own business be you think you’ll make lots of money?

Do you think that if you had your own business you'd have more time with your family? Or maybe it’s the idea that you won’t have to answer to anyone else? If so, you'd better think again.

On the other hand, if you start your business for the following reasons you'll have a better chance at success:

• Passion and love for what you'll be doing, and strongly believe; based on study and research your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace.

• Are you physically fit and possess the needed mental stamina to withstand potential challenges. Often overlooked, our health and fitness has been responsible for more than a few bankruptcies.

• Do you have the drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude when others around you are throwing in the towel?

• Failures shouldn’t defeat you. You should learn from your mistakes, and use these lessons to succeed the next time around.

• Do you thrive on independence? Are you skilled at taking charge when a creative or intelligent solution is required? This is especially now in these hard economic times.

POOR MANAGEMENT:

Many business reports show poor management as the number one reason for failure. New business owners frequently lack relevant business and management expertise in areas such as finance, purchasing, selling, production, and hiring and managing employees. Unless you recognize what your staff don’t and do well, your business may soon face disaster.

NOT ENOUGH MONEY:

A common fatal mistake for many failed businesses is having insufficient operating funds. Often business owners underestimate how much money is needed to build a business and are forced to close before they even before they’ve almost started the business. Business people regularly have an unrealistic expectation of incoming revenues from sales.

It is imperative to ascertain how much money your business will require; not only the costs of starting, but the costs of staying in business. It is important to take into consideration many businesses take a year or two before they start making money. You should also factor in the costs of decent advertising and marketing program. Advertising is the life blood of most business and without it a business will struggle. Don’t hang your hat on the idea that one or two ads in the newspaper or 30 ads on the radio is going to save the day – because it simply won’t. This means you will need enough money to cover these costs as well.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:

Some factors to consider:

• Where your customers live

• Traffic, accessibility, parking and lighting

• Location of competitors

• Condition and safety of building

• Local incentive programs for business start-ups in specific targeted areas

• The history, community flavor and receptiveness to a new business at a prospective site

LACK OF PLANNING:

Anyone who has ever been in charge of a successful major event knows careful, methodical, strategic planning, hard work, and success will not follow if certain essential rules aren’t followed. The same could be said of most business success.

It is critical for all businesses to have a business plan. Business plans must be realistic and based on accurate, current information and educated projections for the future.

Components include:

• Your description of the business, vision, goals, and keys to success

• Work force needs

• Potential problems and solutions

• Financial capital for equipment and slow business days. A supply list, balance sheet, income statement and cash flow analysis, sales and expense forecast

• Analysis of competition

• Marketing, advertising and promotional activities

• Budgeting and managing company growth In addition, most bankers request a business plan if you are seeking to secure addition capital for your company.

TOO QUICK AND SLICK:

A leading cause of business failure, overexpansion often happens when business owners confuse success with how fast they can expand their business. A focus on slow and steady growth is optimum. Many bankruptcies have been caused by rapidly expanding companies. At the same time, you do not want to repress growth. Once you have an established solid customer base and a good cash flow, let your success help you set the right measured pace. Some indications that an expansion may be warranted include the inability to fill customer needs in a timely basis, and employees having difficulty keeping up with production demands. If expansion is warranted after careful review, research and analysis, identify what and who you need to add in order for your business to grow.

Then with the right systems and people in place, you can focus on the growth of your business, not on doing everything yourself.

WEBSITE:

Simply put, if you have a business today, you need a website - period. Every business should have a professional looking and well-designed website that enables users to easily find out about their business and how to avail themselves of their products and services? Later, additional ways to generate revenue on the website can be added.

Remember, if you don't have a website, you'll most likely be losing business to those that do. And make sure that website makes your business look good, not bad - you want to increase revenues, not decrease them.

This piece is also available as a formatted .pdf for you to file and save or distribute at Sales Meetings. Click here to download.

Email this article to someone

Sales Training